A method to adjust a prior distribution in Bayesian second-level fMRI analysis
Previous research has shown the potential value of Bayesian methods in fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) analysis. For instance, the results from Bayes factor-applied second-level fMRI analysis showed a higher hit rate compared with frequentist second-level fMRI analysis, suggesting greater sensitivity. Although the method reported more positives as a result of the higher sensitivity, it was able to maintain a reasonable level of selectivity in term of the false positive rate. Moreover, employment of the multiple comparison correction method to update the default prior distribution significantly improved the performance of Bayesian second-level fMRI analysis. However, previous studies have utilized the default prior distribution and did not consider the nature of each individual study. Thus, in the present study, a method to adjust the Cauchy prior distribution based on a priori information, which can be acquired from the results of relevant previous studies, was proposed and tested. A Cauchy prior distribution was adjusted based on the contrast, noise strength, and proportion of true positives that were estimated from a meta-analysis of relevant previous studies. In the present study, both the simulated images and real contrast images from two previous studies were used to evaluate the performance of the proposed method. The results showed that the employment of the prior adjustment method resulted in improved performance of Bayesian second-level fMRI analysis.